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Work the World: Broadening Health Care Students’ Horizons

11798333_10153466507190539_899837998_nBy Ashley Sutton, Nursing student at the University of Ottawa  

Work the World works closely with partner hospitals and the local community, supporting them with financial and equipment donationsthat. The organization crafts tailored internships in developing countries for health care students in the fields of dentistry, medicine, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, midwifery and radiology.

Earlier this summer, I left the comfort of my Ottawa home to do a nursing internship with Work the World in the Philippines. Well aware of the precarious conditions of the hospitals I’d be working at during my stay, we contacted the Henry Schein Cares Foundation before my departure to seek in-kind donations.

I left the country loaded like a mule, as the Foundation graciously donated hospital supplies (masks, gloves, syringes, etc.). Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed and experienced during my stay in the Philippines. The vast majority of beds at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital were charity beds, meaning that the patients had no medical insurance or money to pay for care. Extra beds had been installed in hallways to accommodate more patients, but no additional human resources had been allocated by the province to care for them. The hospital didn’t have proper isolation rooms, and isolation patients were often found wandering around the hospital.  

The personnel typically have access to very limited supplies—they even wash and reuse gloves and masks, and most nursing staff wears homemade masks. Adult-size needles are also used on children for lack of better options. It goes without saying that the Henry Schein Cares Foundation’s generous donations made the world of a difference for patients and medical staff alike. The most valuable lesson I’m taking away from my time in the Philippines is that emotional support and simple care really can help ease an impossibly difficult time for patients and their families. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Air Canada and Bell Canada also offered their generous support. The airline waived the baggage fees for the medical supplies I was bringing with me to the Philippines, and the telecommunications company offered unlimited international texting so I could stay in touch with my family. 

Work the World offers internship opportunities in the fields of dentistry, medicine, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, midwifery and radiology. To learn more about the organization, visit worktheworld.com The Henry Schein Cares Foundation activities focus on wellness, prevention, and treatment; emergency preparedness and relief; and capacity building. To learn more about the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, visit hscaresfoundation.org   [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”9″ gal_title=”Work the World”]

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